The candidate for the presidency of Nicaragua, Félix Maradiaga, became the third opposition candidate arrested by the Nicaraguan police in recent days. In a statement, the force said that Maradiaga is being investigated for “inciting foreign interference in internal affairs and requesting military interventions” and for “organizing with financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization.”
The arrest occurred when the politician was on his way home, after attending his appointment with the attorney general’s office, where he was interrogated for almost three hours.
Maradiaga denied the inferences, so, once his speech was over, he said: “I have nothing to hide.” What he did express was a request for justice against “people who have committed crimes against humanity and violation of human rights.”
“My hands are clean. My conscience is clean.”
Before his arrest, Félix Maradiaga recorded this message for the Nicaraguan citizens, where he calls for the continuation of civic resistance and the fight for the freedom of Nicaragua.
Force and faith! pic.twitter.com/uaizk71tdi
– Maradiaga (@maradiaga) June 9, 2021
The non-parliamentary opposition bloc Unidad Nacional (UNAB), made up of civil society organizations and of which the activist was a pre-candidate, participated in the 2018 protests. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), on that occasion 328 people lost their lives and thousands had to go into exile in an attempt to promote the resignation of President Daniel Ortega.
For the first lady, Rosario Murillo, these acts “violated” the progress of her Government, for which she assured that “justice is late, but it arrives”, referring to the arrests of the presidential candidates, although she did not refer to them. .
The vice president added that the entry of certain resources to Nicaragua “fattened the portfolio of a few who also promised to kill.” “How much we would have made with what was stolen. This bunch of thieves, not only thieves, but also terrorists, criminals, how much we would have advanced against poverty,” he said.
However, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) showed its rejection of the arrest of Maradiaga and condemned the authorities for using “a new repressive model: citing, without saying why, those it considers political enemies, interviewing them, letting them out of the Prosecutor’s Office and then detain them on the way home or inside. “
Three arrests in a matter of days
Nicaraguan authorities have arrested three opposition leaders with presidential aspirations in the last 10 days. This is Cristina Chamorro, an opposition figure who leads some polls for the Nicaraguan presidency; Arturo Cruz, a diplomat who served as ambassador to the United States between 2007 and 2009; and now Felix Maradiaga.
Chamorro, who is under house arrest, is accused of money laundering through the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro foundation, created by her mother, who became the first president of the American continent after winning the 1990 elections and was in office. until 1997.
Cruz, on the other hand, is accused of “attacking Nicaraguan society and the rights of the people”, without too much detail about these charges.
According to local laws, these arrests and ongoing investigations would exclude the candidates for the presidential elections.
In addition, the electoral court proceeded to eliminate two political parties: the Democratic Restoration Party (PRD-Evangelico) and the Conservative Party (PC-right), the oldest in this country.
Juan Sebastian Chamorro, another opponent cited
Juan Sebastian Chamorro, another candidate for the opposition Citizens for Freedom Alliance, has been summoned to testify at the central offices of the Public Ministry this Wednesday, June 9 in the morning.
Although the reasons for the summons are unknown, it is known that there is a case against the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Funides), a body of which Chamorro is executive director.
This entity is defined as an “independent thought institution that specializes in research and policy analysis in the areas of socio-economic development and institutional reform.”
The United States and the European Union condemn the arrests
Although Sandinista Daniel Ortega has not formalized his candidacy for the presidential elections to be held in November in Nicaragua, his opponents suspect that he would seek a fourth consecutive term.
The investigations and arrests of these candidates have been frowned upon by the United States and the European Union, who urge the 75-year-old president to “make political changes and hold free and fair elections.”
Indeed, Julie Chung, undersecretary for Latin America of the United States Department of State, said on Twitter that “the arbitrary detention of presidential candidate Félix Maradiaga – the third opposition leader detained in 10 days – confirms without a doubt that Ortega is a dictator The international community has no choice but to treat him as such. “